The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, has said the ongoing laying of fibre optic cables and the deployment of other telecoms equipment by mobile network operators (MNOs) across Lagos and other states in Nigeria is entirely to expand their networks infrastructure across the country in order to provide more efficient services to the consumers.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, who made the clarification in a statement issued and signed by the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, yesterday, said the clarification became necessary in response to insinuations by some individuals through viral video, audio and textual contents on social media that the ongoing excavation activities and laying of fibre optic cables by MNOs in Lagos and other states are connected to 5G network equipment deployments.
According to Danbatta, “As we speak, any information suggesting or claiming that the equipment being deployed by the network operators are 5G equipment is purely misinformation deliberately orchestrated by individuals bent on creating ill-feelings in the industry.”
The vice-chairman, therefore, called on Nigerians to disregard such ‘unfounded and ill-motivated; information in its entirety regardless of whoever, no matter how highly-placed or lowly-placed, is making the insinuation.
“As the telecoms regulator, we enjoin Nigerians to get accurate information from us rather than relying on information emanating on social media by some individuals out of ignorance to misinform our people,” Danbatta said.
He added that the ongoing digging and fibre optic cable laying by some operators were in accordance with the agreements reached during meetings by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, and management of the NCC with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) led by Dr. Kayode Fayomi, the governor of Ekiti State, in January 2020, during which the Forum gave its commitment to allow the network operators expand their networks by granting right of way (RoW) approvals for telecommunications infrastructure expansion unhindered across their states.
According to him, “This will significantly reduce drop calls and improve networks performance of the operating companies.
“The governors’ forum agreed to allow the telecoms operators to expand their networks by granting the telecoms operators the necessary permits, which they had been having difficulties getting before now. This will help them expand their networks for more effective service delivery to Nigerians. That is exactly what was or is ongoing in Lagos and other states. It is to improve their networks infrastructure.”
While emphasising that the earth-digging and cable laying activities by the operators has nothing to do with 5G deployment, the NCC boss stated that continuous network expansion, remained a requirement from the operators for efficient service delivery on their networks, as this would help to expand their network capacity and robustness.
Danbatta, however, re-emphasised that the commission has not commenced any licensing process for 5G network, adding that what the commission has carried out is a 5G trial for three months, during which it will be able to certify its safety to end users and guarantee the desirability for deployment in the economy.